Striking the right balance between premium players, mid-priced punts and cheap enablers is one of the most important parts of building your FPL team each season – especially the mid-price players. I personally won a mini league 2 seasons ago solely due to Josh King’s 16 goals as a mid-priced midfielder. Love ya, mate.
As we go into the 18/19 FPL season, there are a few different mid-price midfield options that have cropped up and have found themselves in a number of drafts, ranging from newly-promoted stars to older lads looking to reclaim past glory.
So, with these mid-priced midfield maestros in mind, let’s have a look at the ones that stand out in particular for the start of the season. Oh, and by mid-priced, let’s just go for players priced between 6 and 7.5m. A bit arbitrary, but that’s more-or-less the market we’re looking at.
Diogo Jota – 6.5m
One of the true standouts when it comes to FPL newcomers this season would be Wolves’ Diogo Jota.
He’s one of those players that appears as if everyone has him, at least if you’re an active Twitter user. Though, if you look at his ownership, it currently sits at just above 6%.
The rush for him comes from his performances in the Championship last season, where he scored 18 goals for Wolves while they won the league at a canter. Also, he spent a fair amount of time up front but has been listed as a midfielder in FPL this season.
With the loan signing of Raul Jiminez from Benfica, Jota has been moved away from that position, with him now playing on the left wing. Here’s what their lineup looked like from their most recent friendly:
Barring any other Jorge Mendes madness, this is likely to be their team to start the season. Though he won’t play every game up front, playing so far up the pitch makes him a great shout, especially as a midfielder. A lot of his best work came from the left-hand side anyway, playing in that same position while Léo Bonatini played up top.
Here’s an example of how Wolves and Jota looked, looking at their 4-1 win against Leeds, where Jota played on the left-hand side:
Here’s Jota’s personal touch map, where we can see that he drifts around but still finds himself in the box:
In terms of the numbers from last season, he took 120 shots (2.7 per game) – the second most of any player in the Championship.
So, the numbers are promising, he’s relatively cheap and is playing a forward role for a side that has the potential to do well next season. I feel he could do well. Perhaps nowhere near the level he reached in the Championship, though I don’t feel like there’ll be an Anthony Knockaert level drop-off in production.
He’s currently in my personal team and is likely to still be there come this time next week.
For some more info on the lad, check out the great overview of Diogo Jota’s FPL prospects via Who Got The Assist.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – 7.5m
Moving away from the 6.5m club, another one to watch would be FPL-favourite Gylfi Sigurdsson.
For those who were playing a few years ago, Gylfi was a true gem. He broke the 150-point barrier three consecutive times, reaching 181 points in the 16/17 season with 9 goals and 13 assists. His FPL productivity dropped off massively last season, though that’s to be expected when a forward-thinking #10 gets shunted out to the left wing of a Sam Allardyce side.
Now, though, he’ll be back in the number 10 role for Everton. He’ll also likely take charge of set pieces and penalties now that Rooney has left and Baines has been replaced.
Regarding set pieces, this is one of the bigger reasons behind picking up Gylfi in FPL. He’s one of the best around, providing a consistent goal and assist threat from free kicks and corners. Just yesterday, we saw him grab an assist from a corner:
🚩Sigurdsson ➡️ @michaelkeane04
— Everton (@Everton) August 4, 2018
Focusing on the numbers, it’s difficult to take anything from last season seeing as Everton were so devoid of creativity, largely due to the Count of Monte Bisto’s preference for solidity. Looking at the 16/17 season, Gylfi created 77 chances for Swansea, averaging a key pass every 43 minutes.
With Marco Silva in charge, we’ll see Gylfi operating in a central role in an attacking side, with pacey wingers either side of him and a decent striker up top. He’ll be in charge of set pieces and could potentially be on penalties.
On that note, they’ve been linked with Yerry Mina. Could you imagine Sigurdsson whipping in set pieces to that man mountain? He’ll break Henry’s assist record before Christmas.
Everton have had a shocking pre-season, though this is mainly down to them being poor defensively, putting many off their assets. That being said, due to Silva’s sides being rather attacking, it makes Gylfi one to watch. His price also allows for some flexibility going forward. If it doesn’t work out, or you just want him for those early fixtures, he can be swapped out for a cheaper option, or another 7-8m midfielder with ease.
Bernardo Silva – 7.5m
One of the absolute short-term choices in the mid-priced midfield bracket would be City’s Bernardo Silva. He played a bit-part role for City last season, starting 15 times in his 35 total Premier League appearances.
In terms of FPL returns, he notched 6 goals and 5 assists in that limited amount of time, tallying up to a solid 112 points in 1,500 minutes.
What entices me to him to start the season would be his current form. Yeah, pre-season isn’t much to go on, but did you see him against Chelsea? He started in City’s midfield 3 – the role he’s being groomed for – and was magnificent. He moved to the right-hand side after Sane was taken off at half time, where he dropped off somewhat.
There’s a good chance that he becomes much more involved this season, specifically in that role. He played more often on the right-hand side last season, but with the signing of Mahrez, he could be moved more centrally this season, fulfilling the role of heir apparent to David Silva.
Pep also had some rather kind words to say about Bernie Silva after the Chelsea match:
Guardiola: “right now it’s Bernardo and 10 more, but it’s about what you do over the season. In this moment Bernardo is far above the other guys.”
— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) August 5, 2018
Though it may be a very short-term pick, Bernie offers you a relatively cheap way into City’s midfield. Pep’s Wheel of Rotation is a cruel mistress, so it’s certainly a punt that comes with a high amount of risk, but certainly plenty of potential reward.
Felipe Anderson – 7.0m
Now, this one is a bit more of a wildcard choice, with him being one of many new signings for West Ham, who also have a new manager in Pellegrini. Felipe Anderson has come in from Lazio, and could end up being a bloody good FPL prospect.
Looking at the numbers from last season, Anderson’s minutes were limited due to injuries, playing little over 1,100 minutes. He still managed a respectable 4 goals and 7 assists playing in a variety of forward positions. He managed 4 goals and 10 assists the season prior, with his biggest haul being in the 14/15 season where he scored 10 and created 8 more.
His underlying stats from last season are what really catch the eye, though. He completed more successful dribbles per 90 minutes than any other Serie A player, as well as 1.8 key passes per game. Though skewed through limited minutes, Anderson to create a chance once every 30 minutes in Serie A.
His direct running, dribbling, and creativity could translate very well to the league.
He isn’t too much of a goal threat, though the majority of his best work would be done while creating for others. His pace will be massively important as well, especially with the fixtures that West Ham have got to start the season.
West Ham’s counter attacks will be a primary part of their attacking threat considering the teams they’re playing. They’re likely to set up in a 4-2-2-2, a system that Pellegrini prefers, with Anderson playing out wide. Though touted as a number 10, he had his most prolific season playing out wide for Lazio, chiefly playing on the right-hand side in a 4-3-3. West Ham could also use the 4-3-3, opting to pack the midfield while operating with Arnautovic as a lone striker.
The lack of certainty does say that he’d be one to watch, but I just really like him as an overall prospect this season.
Richarlison – 6.5m: A direct alternative to Gylfi Sigurdsson, Everton’s new £50m signing could be a great punt. Everton have some stunning fixtures to kick off the season and will offer much more going forward in comparison to last season.
He took 95 shots in the Premier League last season, the 4th most of any player. That being said, he only scored 5 goals and his form fell off the face of the Earth in the new year. He’s been reunited with Marco Silva and is likely to start in Everton’s forward 3.
Lucas Moura – 7m: One of many players worth punting on due to having teammates that have only just returned from their holidays, Lucas Moura is worth a shout. He’s likely to start considering Alli has just returned, and Lamela is injured (again). He’s also taken the odd set piece in pre-season, scoring one against Girona, and has built a decent relationship with Eriksen.
Pedro – 6.5m: One player that’s been in-and-out of my drafts, Pedro is a player that could be worth an early punt at a cheap price. With Willian and Hazard only recently returning to training, there’s a good chance Pedro starts for Chelsea to kick the season off.